Living with a Fire
(Jesus Culture Music)
Prolific worship collective Jesus Culture celebrates two decades together with Living With a Fire, featuring artists like Chris McClarney, Chris Quilala, Kim Walker-Smith, Bryan and Katie Torwalt and Derek Johnson.
In today’s saturated worship genre, it’s difficult to avoid re-treaded sounds and lyrical themes, but on this outing, Jesus Culture manages a bright and modern sound (though Derek Johnson sure does channel early-2000’s Chris Martin on “Beautiful Day”). Lyrics don’t wander from the familiar often enough, but when they do, they’re insightful and refreshing.
At over 100 minutes, this live album of original songs runs at twice the length of many releases. The 14 songs are varied enough to create an engaging listening experience, but some of them simply run too long. The sort of dynamics and breathing that can happen live can seem forced on an album, especially upon repeated spins. “Defender” is a great song that needs most of its 12 minutes. On the other hand, “Center of Your Love” carries on for about five minutes too many.
Overall, this is a strong offering from Jesus Culture, with quality songs of declaration and dependence.